By Katabella Roberts
Border patrol agents were forced to erect temporary barricades at a port of entry along the southern U.S. border on March 12, as thousands of illegal immigrants tried to enter the country, with hundreds stampeding border officials by force.
The stampede incident started at the Paso Del Norte International bridge entry point in El Paso, Texas, at about 1:30 p.m. local time.
Hundreds attempted to forcefully cross the entry point to the bridge at Juarez, Mexico.
Video footage captured by Fox News showed the illegal immigrants rushing the border checkpoint, pushing down permanent barriers, and overwhelming armed border officials struggling to hold back the crowd as they attempted to cross the bridge to the United States.
Meanwhile, others tried to enter the United States from other points.
El Paso County Judge Ricardo Samaniego told ABC network affiliate KVIA that the crowd comprised about 2,000 illegal immigrants. The judge said that a majority of the immigrants were Venezuelan males.
After the Mexican National Guard was called in to disperse the crowd, some of whom were attempting to pull down the port barriers and concertina wire, about 100 asylum seekers remained, KVIA reported.
Human Wave Posed ‘Potential Threat’
Separate video footage captured and shared online appears to show large numbers of the group returning to the Juarez checkpoint after the failed attempted crossing.
Fox News reported that the immigrants who reached the U.S. border were met with barbed wire fencing. They were later returned to Mexico.
According to the El Paso migrant situational awareness dashboard, CBP managed 1,210 encounters with illegal immigrants on March 12 and took 2,023 individuals into custody.
In a statement made shortly after the incident, U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) said that officers, including members of the CBP Mobile Field Force, had implemented “port hardening measures” to prevent the migrants from illegally crossing the border, including the deployment of physical barriers.
“A large group of individuals formed on the Mexican side of the border and approached the international boundary posing a potential threat to make a mass entry,” the statement reads.
CBP said that the incident had temporarily prevented northbound traffic at the Paso Del Norte Bridge.
El Paso Deputy City Manager Mario D’Agostino told CNN that crowds at the bridge were subsiding as of the evening of March 12.
“At this time Emergency Operations Center has shut down. Crowds [have] subsided and it’s just being monitored,” he said.
Traffic resumed later that evening.
Parallel Charges at the Border
Similar breaches took place on March 12 at two other crossings: the Stanton crossing and the Bridge of the Americas crossing, CBP said.
The attempted breach at the Stanton crossing took place from 2 p.m. to 2.45 p.m., and the one at Americas crossing happened from 2.45 p.m. to 3.30 p.m., CBP said.
Barricades were also used in both of those incidents to stop illegal entry, according to CBP.
“CBP is working to maintain the legal and orderly flow of entry to the U.S. while protecting the safety and security of legitimate trade and travel, CBP facilities, and the CBP workforce,” the agency said in a statement to CNN.
Biden Touts Work to Secure Border
The incidents of March 12 come after President Joe Biden in January announced that immigrants from Cuba, Haiti, Nicaragua, and Venezuela will be returned to Mexico under Title 42 if they illegally enter the country.
However, the administration will also provide legal immigration opportunities to eligible asylum seekers, allowing them to live and work in the United States, provided they find a sponsor inside the United States and pass a background check.
During his State of the Union address in February, Biden touted the “record number of personnel working to secure the border.”
U.S. Customs and Border Protection didn’t respond by press time to a request by The Epoch Times for comment.